Immune Boosting Foods: Helping the body’s defence system
A diet high in refined, processed or sugary foods is a recipe for a decreased immunity. To build strong immune system, eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, which provide a wide range of essential antioxidants and nutrients. The immune system also needs high-quality protein and healthy fats to restore tissues and generate healthy immune cells, including those found in extra virgin olive oil. Including a daily serving of yogurt with live probiotics, improves immune function. It is vital to reduce your sugar intake (including concentrated fruit juices) because even one serving of sugar drastically lowers the body’s immune defenses for several hours.
Exercise- but not to excess At least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week improves immune function. Adequate exercise improves the numbers of all types of white blood cells and makes natural killer cells become more active and efficient. Although, excessive exercise, such as running a long distance marathon, can temporarily reduce immune function.
Reduce stress Depression, anxiety and emotional stressors, stimulate the secretion of adrenal hormones, which reduce the activity of white blood cells, important immune cells. Regular exercise dramatically relives stress. Also, meditation, deep relaxation routines and massages can substantially reduce stress. Studies show that the simple process of writing a journal and writing about stressful incidents can increase immune function.
Echinacea – Native Americans used echinacea for more than any other plant, as a ‘cure all’. It went into formal medicine in 1895, and became the best-selling American medicinal plant prescribed by physicians into the 1920s. It has enjoyed continuous popularity in Europe. In 1993 German physicians prescribed echinacea more than 2.5 million times. Conventionally, herbalists believe it is a blood purifier and an aid to fighting infections.
Today most consumers use echinacea to prevent and treat colds and to help heal infections. Echinacea increases the particle-ingestion ability of white blood cells and other specialized immune-system cells, enhancing their ability to attack foreign invaders such as cold or flu viruses. Additionally echinacea helps accelerate healing if infection already exists.
Panax Ginseng – also known as Korean ginseng. Its main active component, ginsenosides, has been proven to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. it may improve immune and psychological functions as well as conditions related to diabetes.
Garlic – Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Garlic has cardiovascular, anti-microbial and antineoplastic properties (preventing the growth of malignant cells).
Ginger – reduces inflammation, cardiovascular conditions, blood clots and cholesterol. Additionally, it has been observed to inhibit the behavior of genes connected with inflammation.
Turmeric- contains curcumin, which has antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and stomach soothing benefits. It reduces inflammation by stimulating the adrenal glands to increase the hormone that decrease inflammation. Tumeric protects the liver from the adverse effects of alcohol and certain toxins. Turmeric also helps in digestive problems and reducing cholesterol by stimulating bile flow.
Gingko Biloba- Gingko biloba’s leaves contain antioxidant compounds called bilobalides and ginkgolides that protect against free radicals. Additionally, gingko protects against radiation. Extracts of this herb can neutralize oxidizing agents and free radicals in the cells due to radiation.
Reishi- This is a bitter mushroom It has long been popular in Chinese medicine attributed to assisting in longevity and health. Further studies on this oriental herb reveal that it strengthens immunity and combats cancer. Moreover, it has antioxidant properties and provides relief from urinary tract infections.
Astragalus – this Chinese herb improves the immune system and supports digestion and adrenal gland functions. It is also a diuretic. Astragalus contains polysaccharides, saponins and flavonoids. It also is taken to combat the common cold and flu. Its digestive health benefits demonstrate the lowering of stomach acidity, enhancing the body’s metabolic rates and the stimulation of waste elimination.
Cat’s claw – This herb from Peru is an exceptional immune response stimulator that helps the body combat infections and degenerative diseases. It contains oxindole alkaloids enhancing the immune system’s ability to engulf and destroy pathogens.
Some great herbal teas!